Market town’s HSBC bank axe sparks anger

Poulton Street, Kirkham
Poulton Street, Kirkham
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The latest revamp of a Fylde high street is set to be rubber-stamped – but the town has been rocked by the announcement a major bank is set to close.

Fylde Council’s development management committee is set to meet on Thursday to discuss approving the next phase of upgrade work for Poulton Street in Kirkham.

Cllr. Elaine Silverwood is concerned that proposed bridge alterations and road closures at Kirkham and Wesham railway station will adversely affect retailers in the town.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'8-5-2012

Cllr. Elaine Silverwood is concerned that proposed bridge alterations and road closures at Kirkham and Wesham railway station will adversely affect retailers in the town. PIC BY ROB LOCK'8-5-2012

The £85,000 plans are the third and fourth zones to be revamped in the town – part of a project to improve nine areas which started last year.

The latest scheme follows previous phases and includes the repaving of footways with an overlapping use of tiling.

It is hoped the work will start next month and be part of a Lancashire County Council project to upgrade the traffic signals at the junction of Poulton Street and Station Road.

But the high street revamp has suffered a blow after two councillors revealed the town’s HSBC Bank is set to close in November.

Coun Elaine Silverwood, who also owns SilverDell Book shop in Poulton Street, said residents had given a fantastic response to the high street revamp – but said she had been left shocked by the bank closure plans.

She added: “The look of the high street has improved dramatically from the pavements being refurbished.

“It makes the area look better and more attractive.

“It has been crying out for it for years.

“It keeps going one piece at a time. It is really exciting it is happening.

“But the HSBC is closing. I have spoken to the staff there and it’s very concerning when people may lose jobs or be relocated.

“It is a huge loss to Kirkham. It will have a dramatic effect on the town. Kirkham is a hub for the villages.

“I am really, really shocked. I never thought we would lose it.”

Kirkham Coun Keith Beckett called the move “outrageous.”

He added: “I was in there the other day and got a letter saying they are closing. I am thinking it is outrageous.

“All the businesspeople in Kirkham are losing out.

“Apparently it will close on November 6.

“You can still pay at post offices but banks are banks. You want to be able to go in somewhere to talk to people.

“We’re being told the nearest banks will now be in either Blackpool or Preston.”

In June HSBC announced it was cutting 7,000 to 8,000 jobs across the UK, as well as plans to “trim” its 1,057 branches across the UK.

The group said it aims to cut its worldwide network of branches by 12 per cent, with the UK being one of seven regions to be impacted – but it declined to give further details for British branch closures.

A spokesman for HSBC was unavailable for comment.